Learn To Play Drums Online: Practice II

Read the first post about drum technique here.

Almost as important as practice frequency is practice technique. Learning to play drums will happen much more quickly if you spend your time wisely. I knew someone who practiced at least twice as much as me, but he didn’t fix his mistakes, he didn’t focus, and he never got much better. He got more consistent, but he was consistently playing incorrectly.

ABSOLUTELY always use a metronome. You may think you have great timing, but you’d better lose that ego and make the metronome your new god (or maybe it can just channel your current one). Warm up at slow tempos and increase over the duration of your practice session. Slow it back down and do it again. Your control over tempo will improve, and eventually, you’ll be able to play around the beat at will. Maybe a song sounds great if you lay just behind the beat. A lesser drummer might start dragging the tempo, but you, as a master of the met, will always know where that beat lies. The beat is not a mystery. It’s not a hazy approximation that you search for during a song. It’s an absolute, mathematical constant, and once you know it intimately, you’ll be able to mold it to your will.

You’re using a metronome every day. Fantastic! But are you really listening to it? Are you focusing on placing your strokes exactly on and in-between the met clicks, or are you using the met to drag you alone while you diddle out some lazy beats? You need to be an active participant in your learning process, and for drumming this means opening up your ears and working with the metronome and not for it.

Just as you modify your strokes to match the beat, you also need to be aware of your technique as your music and proficiency evolves. You may find different non-productive tendencies arise as you try to play new rudiments or new tempos. By focusing on how you’re playing as much as what you’re playing, you’ll avoid the trap of becoming really good at playing drums poorly.

Don’t practice with broken drumsticks, a busted pad, an angled drum throne, a hi-hat stand that keeps slipping, or a kick pedal that’s lost its spring. You’ll get in the habit of compensating for your equipment’s deficiencies, and that will hurt you in the long run. Replace the drumsticks (and make sure they match in sound and weight), and use as universal an equipment setup as you can.

Read the third post about proper drum technique here.

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